The Jets will be the Jets. If you haven’t heard that one before, you must be sleeping under a rock somewhere. Basically, when something goes wrong, all goes wrong for New York.
This has certainly been the case through four games thus far. The Jets are in a serious slump, unable to rebound week after week following a monstrous Week 1 victory. The issues stem far and wide. From rookie mistakes, an abundance of penalties, terrible offensive play calling, and overall poor game management, the Jets just can’t seem to correct their wrongs.
And as they make their way back to MetLife Stadium this Sunday against the Denver Broncos, there’s a good chance the trend will continue. However, the scenario here is a bit different. In short, the Jets cannot afford to replicate the same antics they’ve displayed the past three weeks. Here are a few reasons why:
Darnold’s Development Disintegrates
It’s been a rough start to the promising rookie’s career. Sam Darnold has thrown an interception in every single one of his NFL starts thus far, and has been under such extreme pressure due to a poor offensive line. It doesn’t help that his coaches aren’t giving him much freedom to sling the ball either.
A loss against Denver will only continue to put a damper on the rookie’s development. The Jets praised in training camp that he provided this team the best chance to win, but holding him back from optioning outside of the screen doesn’t really support that cause. Any Jets fan would be able to testify to the fact that if Josh McCown was in there, we would probably be seeing a whole lot more from Robby Anderson and the receiving corps. They’ve been unusually quiet thus far.
OC Jeremy Bates has been overly conservative with his quarterback’s play. It’s caused Darnold to make some lousy throws or submit to yet another 3-and-out. If the Jets want to win this game, they need to let Darnold off his leash.
It Only Gets Tougher From Here
Don’t get me wrong, the Broncos are a good football team. They went toe-for-toe on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs who are arguably the best team in the league right now. But circumstances tend to play a big part in each and every game, and the Jets have some positive ones on their side this week (including a +2.5 favorite to win).
As I mentioned, the Broncos played Monday night, so they don’t have the same amount of time the Jets do to recover and game-plan for Sunday. The Broncos are also playing on the road, a 1pm EST game in the Meadowlands (10am in Mountain Time). Sure, they’ll definitely show up to play, but you can imagine they won’t come out with the same energy as they did against Kansas City. They’re also playing the Jets…so a premeditated lack of preparation could make this a trap game for them.
So, for the Jets, this should be taken as a “must-win.” The ball is in their court with the diminishing circumstances falling against Denver. It is also a “must-win” because things will only get progressively more difficult from here. Following this Sunday’s matchup, the Jets face the Colts, Vikings and Bears – definitely not the easiest stretch.
A win this week should give them confidence to continue an upward trend in some tougher upcoming matchups.
Todd Bowles REALLY Can’t Afford the L
The people love Todd Bowles. From the fans, players, and management – you never hear a bad thing about Todd Bowles come out of the mouths of anyone. However, that doesn’t mean he is the right coach for this football team.
The Jets need to begin to comprehend the head coach to quarterback dynamic. We see it around the league all the time, most recently in Los Angeles. Jared Goff came in as a top draft pick under head coach Jeff Fischer, and in his first year, he looked like he could be the bust of the century.
But the Rams realized what they had invested in, and out the door went Jeff Fischer. Sean McVay stepped in and “Poof!” Jared Goff is now arguably one of the best in the game. And this isn’t an isolated incident, it happens more often than we truly recognize. The head coach – quarterback dynamic is a real thing.
If Todd Bowles can’t get the best out of Sam Darnold, his time as HC will be over before we know it. Especially after leading this team to back-to-back 5-11 seasons over the course of the past two years, it’s safe to say that falling to 1-4 this early on would call for a change. The Jets are more invested in Darnold than anyone else on the team, including Bowles. Himself and Bates are being far too conservative and need to start rolling the dice.
Simply, he cannot afford a fourth straight loss and the disgruntled development of his rookie quarterback any longer. As I mentioned, things are only going to get more difficult after this week. This is when he needs to put his full trust in the rookie and let him do his thing.